From Mrs Julie Bacon
Sir, - Like the Revd Nick Bromfield (
Letters, 17 August), I also noted appreciatively the number of
athletes who crossed themselves or made a gesture of prayer at the
end of their events in the Olympics. But I had no expectation that
these gestures would be remarked on by the commentators and
pundits, and would have found it odd if these had done so.
The Olympics are about sporting
prowess, and the commentators and pundits were chosen, I infer, for
their expertise in these matters, not for their knowledge of the
faith background of the competitors. If the athletes chose to
mention God in their post-event interviews, then they spoke for
themselves rather than had their actions interpreted for them by
The actions and signs had a power that
did not need verbal interpretation. My attention was drawn earlier
in the summer by Andy Murray's gesture after his Wimbledon matches
of pointing and raising his face to the sky. I still don't know why
he did it, or what it meant to him. I wondered if perhaps he was
acknowledging a debt to a higher power. Whatever it meant to him,
it caught my imagination, and other people's.
If the actions of the Olympic athletes
similarly caught the eye of the audience (whether people of faith
or not) and gave them pause for thought, then that is marvellous.
After all, symbols have power that transcends the need for
JULIE BACON (Ordinand)
12 Grange Avenue, Ilkley, West Yorkshire LS29 8NU
From Mr A. Wills
Sir, - I didn't think the music content of the Olympics'
closing ceremony was as well thought-out as the opening ceremony.
The lighting and special effects were again spectacular, but the
music was disappointing for many people.
The opening ceremony contained
Christian songs, including "Abide with me", "Jerusalem", and "Guide
me, O thou great Redeemer". The closing ceremony music was pop
music targeted at the younger generations, but they could have
played a popular song from every decade for the past 100 years. I
would like there to have been a couple of popular classics (as the
opening ceremony had) - including some of the beautiful music that
is greatly enjoyed by young and old alike in the Last Night of the
Our rich Christian and musical
heritage was completely omitted.
67 Dulverton Road, Ruislip, Middlesex HA4 9AF
From the Revd Dr Nicholas
Sir, - I realise that my former rural dean has lived in Italy
for nearly 13 years, but the table of precedence has not changed in
his absence. The Archbishop of Canterbury is not the
"next-after-the royal-dukes", as Archdeacon Jonathan Boardman
suggests ("Cameo role", Diary, 17
The Archbishop is still ranked after
the sovereign's husband, the heir apparent, and the sovereign's
sons, grandsons, nephew, and cousins, not all of whom are royal
dukes. I am sure that the Earl of Wessex, James, Viscount Severn,
and Peter Philips, as well as Viscount Linley, will all have found
suitable seating if need be, even at the Olympics.
What is interesting is that the
Archbishops and, indeed, diocesan bishops are now ranked higher in
terms of precedence than at any time since the Reformation, when
the spiritual peers still outnumbered the temporal lords in
10 Duke Humphrey Road, London SE3 0TY